Wednesday, July 30, 2008

First Week of Work

Vacation is officially over, and we have arrived here in Blacksburg. It's been a really busy few days for us, but it's really great to be here. We had a great time hanging out in Nashville with the Reuters , my brother Randy, his girlfriend Sam, and my parents. Some of the highlights of that trip included exploring East Nashville, taking in some good old country & western music at a bar downtown, and a dinner party that included a very spirited game of extreme Uno. April and I even got to go wander around the enormous lobbies of the Opryland Hotel, which I must admit was impressive.

We rolled into town Sunday afternoon and had some wonderful friends here that helped us move all of our stuff from the basement to the apartment, unpack a lot of it, and even put some of our furniture back together. Due to our other staff members going out of town, we had to jump right into work Monday morning, so we're still putting our apartment together - it's finally getting close.

The first day of work was nothing like my other jobs. I don't have a cubicle (April and I share a sweet office), I didn't have to get my picture taken for a badge, and I didn't have to sit through boring presentations about workplace ethics and 401k options. We spent the morning assigning responsibilities for the upcoming school year. I have a few things on my plate that I'm really excited about and are areas that I feel very passionate about (such as working with Bible study leaders, men's discipleship, and website/network maintenance) and a few that are new to me, but that I'm excited to see how God uses me and teaches me through them (such as international student ministry and building repair).

We've had the chance to meet a lot of the students who are here for the summer at Bible study and prayer time. Things are pretty sleepy around Blacksburg right now, but in a few short weeks the place will be busy with activity, and I'm sure everything here will seem crazy. I'm not sure that I'm prepared for that, but it's going to be a fun year - I can tell already!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hanging at the Lake

As of right now, April and I are homeless. All of our stuff (except for some clothes to wear) is in the basement of our new apartment building in Blacksburg, and we're living with family for awhile. Fortunately for us, that includes spending a week at the Uebel's lake house on Indian Lake in Russell's Point, OH. It is a beautiful drive up here, through the corn and soybeans in the heart of Ohio. I'm even lucky enough to be able to get (steal) just enough wireless internet sitting on the back porch every once in a while to check my email. The ducks in the lake are driving Mabel crazy. She'll run to the end of every dock and bark at them, but can't seem to muster up the courage to jump in the lake and chase them. I don't think she's relaxed for a second since we arrived due to the constant duck hunting.

The move to Blacksburg went well for us. Thanks to the Travises and our friend Mike, we loaded up the U-Haul and cleaned the apartment in what seemed like no time, even though it was an exhausting day. 8 hours and about $350 of gas later, we arrived in Blacksburg in one piece.

Even though we've been looking forward to this move for a long time, April and I both had a weird feeling walking the streets of Blacksburg again. It's going to take us a while to get used to living there again. I guess I felt a little out of place being back in a college town and not being a student. Or maybe Philadelphia has claimed more of my affection than I'll admit and I'll have to learn to embrace small town life again. Whatever the reason is, I'm looking forward to getting over my awkwardness and embracing the community. I didn't do that much as a student, and I've learned in the past couple of years just how important it is for me to be a part of the community around me.

The rest of our vacation plans will take us back through Cincinnati and then down to Nashville to hang out with my brother and the newly married Reuters. Then our break will be over and we'll be starting our new jobs at the BCM!

The view from the back porch here at the lake house.

Mabel stalking the ducks.

Swimming with Mabel.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

No Turning Back

The last day of work here in Philadelphia finally arrived today for the Uebels. For me, it was filled with paperwork, HR, debriefings, and handshakes as I bid farewell to my coworkers and left New Jersey for the last time in the foreseeable future. I will miss my work at Lockheed Martin and in the government software field in general. I've met many great and intelligent people in my line of work, and have been challenged and satisfied intelectually. It's odd to me that my work will no longer revolve around for-loops and algorithm efficiency calculations, logical constructs that I can wrap my mind around, but will instead focus on the intangiables of people, relationships, and God. My logical, engineer brain does not feel as confident with those tasks.

I tend to be very dramatic (at least in my head) on days like this. I find myself thinking things like "This is the last time I'll check in code" or "This is the last time I'll drive over the Ben Franklin Bridge". I guess it feels like today should be monumental, so I try to build it up, but it ends up feeling like just another day where I got off work early and took an afternoon nap.

So now the boxes are mostly packed, the aparment is painted completely white, April's parents are on their way here on a plane, and all that's left to do is pack up the U-Haul tomorrow and make the trek to Blacksburg with our stuff on Friday. Mabel has been beside herself with all of this business and rearranging things around the apartment. Little does she know that the patterns of life that she is so used to are about to be turned upside down.

There ain't no stoppin us now.